View Full Version : Taxpayer Identification Number Help...

08-11-2006, 05:37 AM
Hi there!

I'm not sure that this is the right place to ask this question, so feel free to move it if I've posted in the wrong place.

I'm a Canadian author and have been looking into getting a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

Does anyone know what is involved in this process? Has anyone done this before?

From my understanding, getting my book published in the U.S. is going to require me to have a TIN, so what forms do I need to fill out?

Thanks in advance!

08-11-2006, 05:42 AM
It a relatively simple process to get a TIN. Although I'm surprised someone in Canada publishing a book in the US has to have one.

The IRS has a website that fairly helpful. Sometimes.

08-11-2006, 05:46 AM
I am not quite sure how you would do it without entering the US but it may well be possible. If you can enter you just need ID.

But I have published in countries I am not resident in, including the US, without getting one.

08-11-2006, 05:49 AM
This should tell you most of what you need to know:


08-11-2006, 05:54 AM
That covers what I thought. You need it to file a tax return in the US--not to earn money from the US. There are other mechanisms that allow the company to properly declare what they pay you.

08-11-2006, 07:19 PM
The irs website (IRS.GOV) has a lot of useful information, including downloadable forms. The one you want seems to be a W-7, but you should check that with a local tax professional (accountant or tax lawyer).

I've gotten a bunch of taxpayer ID numbers for U.S. entities like partnerships and corporations (which is a different form), and it's always been quick and simple. A few weeks, tops, although the timetable may be longer for a non-us-citizen. And I believe they have a FAX process that enables you to get such an ID # in 24-48 hours, at least for US residents; I'm not sure if that's true for the W7.

Accordingly, it may be premature to file for the number now, before you've got an offer on your manuscript. Getting the ID# puts you in the IRS's system, and the IRS will assume you're earning income immediately that requires a tax return, so it will generate some "why haven't you filed a tax return" letters that you will then have to respond to and hope they believe you.

It doesn't hurt to be prepared, though, so you'd be spending money wisely to contact a local tax professional and arrange a 30 to 60 minute session with him/her to review the tax consequences of receiving payments from a US entity. If a W7 is necessary, you can download it and complete it and hold onto it without filing until you are negotiating a book contract and the publisher is asking for the number. Or whenever the tax professional suggests filing it.

JD, not giving individual legal advice, just general information